Saturday, March 5, 2016

Roland’s Wood and Lavender’s Land

Roland’s Wood and Lavender’s Land
Prospectus, February 2016

Roland's Wood is a four hectare piece of "English style woodland", with a Northland twist, on Inlet Road, 3kms from Kerikeri, generously bequeathed to the people and dogs of Kerikeri by Roland Sansom.
After a period of neglect The Woods has been supported and maintained by an army of volunteers who have become known as the Friends of Roland’s Wood (FORW).  For around a decade the FORW have been steadily bringing the woods up to a standard that Roland Sansom would have been proud of. There have been many unsung heroes and everyone who has contributed to resurrecting this stunning woodland is not only thanked by the Trust but I am sure, by the people of Kerikeri.
The park-like setting is a paradise for dog owners where dog owners can let their best friends run and forage off-lead. It has become a vital community asset when there are few other areas that allow dogs to roam free.
At the time of Roland’s premature passing, half of his land holdings in the area of what is now known as Roland’s Wood was bequeathed to the Far North District Council (FNDC) in trust with the remaining half bequeathed to his sister, Lavender, who has now also passed away. This neighbouring 5.4 hectares of land was also planted in many of the English style trees by Roland Sansom which still exists today, although not maintained.


With Lavender’s passing the land is now in the hands of her estate beneficiaries who have instructed the trustees to sell the entire lot. The land currently has resource consent for subdivision into housing which would likely mean, if developed, that many of the trees will be lost.
In Dec 2015 The Friends of Roland’s Wood formed a charitable trust to formalise as a body, in the anticipation of taking over formal operational and financial management of Roland’s Wood, with oversight from the Trustee, the FNDC. This is currently in train with on-going discussion with FNDC on the formal transfer.


The Friends of Roland’s Wood see an opportunity for the people of Kerikeri and surrounds to secure this additional land, preserving it from development for generations to come. Kerikeri is a fast-growing area and to have a 10 hectare park with woodlands, a dog park, walks and acres of space for children’s activities within five minutes of Kerikeri township would be a jewel in our town’s crown.
If this land is not purchased by the FORW Trust it is likely to be developed and cut up into sections for housing and will be lost to the community forever. As a Trust we have long and short term ambitions.  Current parking and access to Roland’s Wood on Inlet Road is insufficient and also considered dangerous by many as the turning on a busy road on a partially blind corner has its hazards. By acquiring the additional land currently known as Lavender’s Land the Trust will be able to secure a much safer and wider access via the bottom of Heron Hill. It will also enable the Trust to put in appropriate parking facilities rather than the current parking which only caters for approximately four vehicles and has a difficult turning circle.

Over time we envisage increasing the woodland/dog park area into some of what is now ‘Lavender’s Land’. This would still leave plenty of land to develop things like a large scale adventure play ground, picnic areas and walking tracks down to the Okura stream (as examples) so not only the woodland and dog lovers get to appreciate the asset, but it then becomes a broader community space that can be utilised by all.  The slopes leading down to the Okura stream we envisage will be planted in natives after a serious weed eradication program to remove the gorse etc.

The current covenants in the Roland’s Wood Trust don’t allow buildings or signage and are quite restrictive. The FORW Trust respect the wishes of Roland Samson and by acquiring the land next door it will not only give us flexibility, with better and access parking but it would also allow us to have a small implement shed, a water tank and some signage. Perhaps build a community pagoda among other things.  Currently the volunteers have to bring back and forth all the tools they need and also any water required. There is nowhere to store a quad and trailer. These may seem like small matters but it has a very big detrimental impact on the on-going maintenance and development of the woods.

What is required

It is likely the Trust will only have a very short window of time to raise sufficient funds to acquire the land.  The Trust will require strong support from the local community, media, community board, dog lovers and council to raise sufficient funds to make the acquisition to preserve these 10 hectares for the community for future generations to enjoy.
The recent Crowd Funding for the beach in the South Island is a good example of what can be achieved and we will be following a similar model by utilising Spark’s Crowd Funding platform, Give-A-Little.
Publicity and selling our story of what a great community asset this will be for generations to come. Imagine people, your grand children and their children in 50 – 100 years time appreciating such a large green space that was secured generations earlier.
What we don’t have a lot of is time. We know the resource consent expires in mid June 2016 and we envisage the beneficiaries of Lavenders Estate will want to have secured a sale well before this expires.


The FORW’s ambition is to acquire the entire 5.4 hectares and expand on the woodland and create parkland for the rest. However there is a backstop position if fund-raising doesn’t meet our ultimate objective. The current resource consent allows up to 14 sections over a multi stage development. One or two of these sections could be sold off by the Trust for little development cost, comparative to the rest and the compromise to the parkland isn’t significant. These sections are bordering the existing Heron Hill road and would still allow for the access and parking we desire and also still achieve approximately 3-4 hectares of additional parkland. This is not the preferred outcome for the Trust, but it is an option we must consider if fundraising falls short of out target and still allows us to acquire the land.

Fundraising Target

Our target amount of funds is $600,000. These funds will be sufficient to acquire the land and also help fund on-going maintenance and development of Lavender’s Land and Roland’s Wood.
We don’t have a lot of time. The beneficiaries of Lavender’s Estate want a quick sale and we need to be in a position to commit to acquiring by the end of April 2016. (Actual date to be determined)
We are looking for generous benefactors, but every little bit counts and no donation is too small. Like the saying, many hands make light work, more donations, no matter what size, more donations gets us closer to our target.
If we are unsuccessful at acquiring the land, any funds raised will be returned if requested  by the party who put up the funds and don’t want to donate to the Roland’s Wood Charitable Trust for the on-going costs of maintenance and development. The Spark Give-A-Little platform ensures that any funds donated to the cause are protected and will only be taken up for the purpose intended.

So what will the new parkland look like?
Effectively the land area will more than double.  As you will see by the aerial pictures on the next page, by acquiring the land we will obtain an area of considerable size that is already planted in the same style as Roland’s Wood.

How can you help?

  • Donate to our Give a Little campaign
  • Spread the word via social media and or personal contacts and organizations
  • Become a member membership forms available by contacting Robyn.

ΓΌ Any volunteers to assist in our goal are very welcome.  Contact details:

If you would like to know more about Roland’s Wood and the Friends of please visit our web page or visit our Facebook page